Burnaway > Reviews > Dialogue: Two reviews of Tommy Taylor’s Tangent

Dialogue: Two reviews of Tommy Taylor’s Tangent

Tommy Taylor, It's a Funny Story, 2009, mixed media. Photo courtesy Whitespace Gallery.

Two reviews of Tangent at Whitespace Gallery, which continues for its final view this Saturday, February 20.

Laura Hennighausen

I honestly hadn’t used the word “anthropomorphic” since the days of art history term papers, but it comes in handy when describing Tommy Taylor‘s exhibit of abstracts currently on display at Whitespace. Entitled Tangent, the show is a homecoming for Taylor after several years in Savannah and New York. I visited the exhibition with a friend, and we used the opportunity to gab loudly and excitedly about his works without worry of distracting other viewers.

In Taylor’s words, these paintings took him “down the rabbit hole” as he concentrated on not concentrating, allowing the works to develop as they wished and eliminating any preconceived notions of what a painting “should” be. Tangent is a welcome break from the staid abstracts littering Atlanta; I found myself rattling off imaginative comparisons and speaking excitedly to my companion about Taylor’s process. Paint, as well as graphite and chalk, is layered on the canvas and then stripped away to reveal engrossing colors and shapes. The fluctuation of palette choices and canvas size throughout the exhibition adds extra visual interest, as does the staccato staggering and grouping of the works.

Tommy Taylor, Huka, 2009, mixed media. Photo courtesy Whitespace Gallery.

Susannah Darrow

Artist Tommy Taylor returns to Atlanta after ten years with a bang in his current exhibition at Whitespace. Tangent offers a mature and cohesive body of work that reflects the artist’s exploration of his own painting style and exercises in balancing self-control with letting go. Both the color and level of precision reflect subtle variations and developments as you move through the gallery. The most extreme divisions, however, are in Taylor’s use of color. The show begins with more subdued neutrals, golds, and plums and then moves to a retro palette of bright red and mint. Taylor’s “anthropomorphic abstracts” serve as the thread that connects these pigment detours.

Taylor’s paintings pull from a variety of sources that span from a Twombly-esque use of pencil and chalk scratched into the surfaces of his paintings to a purple and gold palette reminiscent of Japanese screen paintings. Any allusions to the past, though, are only secondary to the compositions that are uniquely Taylor’s.

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